Department of Design

Curated by Timoni West.

Primarily focused on product design, technology, cognitive psychology, and the brain. Also—pretty pictures, sometimes moving.


August 28th, 2014
…These games also tend to frame misogyny and sexual exploitation as an everlasting fact of life, as something unescapable and unchangeable. This dominant narrative surrounding the inevitability of female objectification and victimhood is so powerful that it not only defines our concepts of reality, but it even sets the parameters for how we think about entirely fictional worlds, even those taking place in the realms of fantasy and science fiction.

It’s so normalized that when these elements are critiqued, the knee-jerk response I hear most often is that: if these stories did not include the exploitation of women, then the game world would feel too unrealistic or not historically accurate.

What does it say about our culture when games routinely bend or break the laws of physics, and no one bats an eye, when dragons, ogres, and magic are inserted into historically-influenced settings without objection? We’re perfectly willing to suspend our disbelief when it comes to multiple lives, superpowers, health regeneration, and the ability to carry dozens of weapons in a massive invisible backpack. But somehow, the idea of a world without sexual violence and exploitation is deemed too strange, and too bizarre, to be believable.

Women as Background Decoration (Part 2), on Feminist Frequency.

Anita Sarkeesian is so great. Too bad she didn’t feel safe sleeping at her own house last night after being physically threatened for saying nothing more inflammatory than what you just read, above.

Ever seen Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs? Forget about it. Marketers still learn it in school, but psychologists left it behind a long time ago.

There are 14 things that humans will always be motivated to gain or protect: Avoiding death, avoiding pain, air, water, food, homeostasis (bodily functions), sleep, sex, love, protection of children, status, affiliation, justice, and understanding each of those things better.

All of those things will have an audience — and trigger emotional responses to different degrees — but on the internet, Status, Affiliation, Justice, & Understanding are particularly useful because they are just ideas. They are also unlimited, and you can create them from scratch, for free.

August 27th, 2014

Aligning one’s life.

Over the past few years, I’ve been focusing on reducing what I own, and working towards having a more minimal and flexible life, one where I can travel freely. It’s been going well, and while I’ve casually picked up a few blogs and subs that are inspiring or written by like-minded people, I started collecting a list in earnest a few weeks back. I’m looking for more recommendations. Here’s what I have so far:

Elsewhere Man
Intelligent Travel
Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site
The Four-Hour Workday (really!)
Global Goose

And of course…

Any other recommendations or favorites would be much appreciated.


Guillermo Del Toro’s The Book of Life looks incredible.

Color Photos from the Filming of Jaws on Katama Bay, Martha’s Vineyard in 1974, from vintage everyday.

In no way is this fake shark not completely terrifying anyway.

Mary Galloway’s The Night Market. Her other work in the series is lovely too.

August 26th, 2014


Creation 24

Wearable by:

Soyez-Okada Wearable Calendar

“Our search and rescue teams have been complaining of the Terrestrials’ poor hygiene, so a self-cleaning omnioutfit will do those uncultured miscreants some good. I haven’t visited Earth for a number of years, so I can’t say with any certainty, but I believe this calendar reflects the dress schedule of a 21st century Earth climate. Regardless, the heaviest layers will serve Terrestrials well, while the whole gamut will be utilized in more controlled environments on Earth’s Moon and here on Mars. /TIMETRANSMISSION_END _Bishop_Sept_2298//”

Honestly I don’t know what’s going on here, but I like it a lot.

Anthony Francisco’s approved concept art for baby Groot, in his blog Monsters and Stuff.

One of my favorite tattoo artist right now. In Japan. Instagram here.

(Source: jiangdiart)

I’m a lover, not a fighter.

August 23rd, 2014
Dawkins’ Tweets are a sort of a test, like the pea which the prince put under the princess’s mattress in one of those fairy stories which Dawkins doesn’t think we should read to our kids. Make a trivial logical statement, wrapped up in horrible example that makes light of what is, for quite a lot of people, the worst thing that happened to them in their whole lives. And watch people’s reactions. Some people — the one who don’t believe in cultural meanings, feelings, or that language is complex — will only see the logical bit, and not be able to understand how anyone could be “offended” since the logic is sound. Other people will react to the horrible beliefs that are “signaled” by the text as a whole, and say that the logic of it is neither here nor there.

Andrew Rilstone, reacting to Richard Dawkin’s tweets:

Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.
Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.
Rilstone’s points are an excellent example of logic vs pragmatism (or, some would say, rationality). Dawkins is logical, but his anger and irritation at muddy thinking, ironically, clouds his judgement. He may be correct, but he isn’t right.

August 22nd, 2014

Emma Bennett's Always Is Always Now, 2010, Oil on Canvas 170 x 130cm.

Why has recognising the deep future been so difficult for humanity?

…The first, and most obvious reason, is simple human self-preoccupation. The line of evolution reaches us, and we find it hard to imagine it moving further. Hugely impressed with our own accomplishments, including those just listed, we give little thought to beings who might come after us or to ideas not yet a twinkle in evolution’s eye. There is also a more practical reason. Most human goals, including altruistic ones, rise or fall over the short period of a human lifetime. And although we might look back – even far back – with interest, perhaps to learn from our kind’s history, there is nothing in the far future that is similarly tied up with our goals. As a result, we haven’t developed the habits of mind necessary to consider it carefully.